Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
44disney

R/T Vancouver—Airport customs procedure

Recommended Posts

I just need a clarification please. I’m on a round-trip Alaskan cruise departing and returning to Vancouver. Later that day I fly out of the Vancouver airport with a layover in Chicago before I board my flight to Nashville. My layover time in Chicago is pretty short so I was thinking I wouldn’t be able to check a bag because I don’t think I’d have time to reclaim it in Chicago and check it again. But I recently read something that made me think that I will go through customs and immigration in the Vancouver airport so my luggage should be checked directly through without me needing to reclaim it in Chicago.

 

Is this correct? Any help is greatly appreciated! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless it is a very late flight, you will clear US Immigration and Customs  (two separate activities, Immigration being the more complicated and potentially troublesome activity) in Vancouver, and your flight to Chicago will be treated as a domestic flight. Thus you will not need to claim your bags in Chicago, they will be checked through to Nashville, unless you are changing airlines (and those airlines don't interline, like Southwest).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 That’s awesome! Thank you so much for your quick reply! 

 

 I’m only bringing carry-on luggage on my flight to Vancouver  and I do have a little extra space but not much. My plan had been to send a package home from Ketchikan (my last port stop) if everything wouldn’t fit in my luggage, but now I see that I have a better option available! Again, many thanks! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While the US Immigration and Customs process in the Vancouver is a smooth operation, you do need to plan to be at the Vancouver airport a little earlier than you would arrive at a US domestic airport.  If you have two ship loads of USA cruise ship passengers flying home on disembarkation day there can be lines.  The lines move in a smooth process, but there could be lines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Question:  Since our cruise isn't departing Vancouver until  7:30pm, we decided to fly in same day thinking just in case something went wrong we could ferry over to Victoria, the first port and get on there.  Any problem with this plan?

I know, we should have gone in the day ahead, but we've been to Vancouver several times and decided to take a chance.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't do it.

 

Things happen.

 

What happens if you can't even get in that day.

 

I would get there the day before.

 

I have been on too many flights where things did go wrong.

 

On top of this flying can be stressful and it's always good to start the cruise with a nights rest in a Hotel IMHO.

 

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Keith1010, I wouldn't do it, for the reasons he states. Why intentionally put landmines in your route?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I completely agree as well. We have been delayed overnight a couple of times when going on a cruise so even with your Victoria back up plan I still wouldn’t do it. 

 

 And thanks for the heads up regarding getting to the airport early! I’m planning to go there as soon as I disembark and my flight doesn’t leave until close to 2 PM. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, BridgeMates said:

Question:  Since our cruise isn't departing Vancouver until  7:30pm, we decided to fly in same day thinking just in case something went wrong we could ferry over to Victoria, the first port and get on there.  Any problem with this plan?

I know, we should have gone in the day ahead, but we've been to Vancouver several times and decided to take a chance.

 

The biggest potential issue would be why your incoming flight is so late that you miss the cruise and want to trigger Plan B. If it's mechanical/airline staff strike/weather issues at your starting airport that resolve by later same day then arriving so late you miss the cruise but could still potentially get a ferry or floatplane/chopper over to Victoria even the next day remains viable, unless it's a RT Vancouver route (you'd then be in breach of our equivalent of the PVSA, the Coastwise Trade Act which stops foreign flag ships moving people between different Canadian ports).

 

If it's a one-way to any other country, including the US, you'd still be starting in Canada so Plan B of getting on in Victoria works on paper. The Victoria stop being next also means no US Preclearance in Vancouver, so no problem with everyone else being 'in the USA' but you having to do immigration on arrival on a Coastal or Hawaii cruise for example.

 

But what if it's a regional weather issue here? Anything that grounds planes at YVR will almost certainly mean no ferries either, they stop far more often than flights at YVR are suspended - and floatplanes and choppers also stop flying long before weather impacts jets at YVR.

 

Overall, assuming you have a flight early in the day you have a very low risk of things going pear-shaped enough you miss a 7:30pm cruise; the lines do book people to arrive same-day every single time for ships leaving at 4/5pm and while it's not unheard of for folks to miss their ship it's still very rare - YVR is very rarely hit by extreme weather of any kind. Your Plan B is also very feasible - as would be Plan C, if you can get to Seattle you may be able to then fly to YYJ or take the Clipper to downtown Victoria - in the event that you have an issue that's pretty much anything except extreme weather in this neck of the woods.

 

So overall I'd rank this as similar to booking a flight back home before noon after your cruise - the odds of one big problem or a series of smaller problems that add up to you missing it are very, very low... but since you do have your entire vacation at risk if things go wrong on the way to Vancouver I'd still be inclined not to take the risk personally!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
31 minutes ago, martincath said:

The biggest potential issue would be why your incoming flight is so late that you miss the cruise and want to trigger Plan B. If it's mechanical/airline staff strike/weather issues at your starting airport that resolve by later same day then arriving so late you miss the cruise but could still potentially get a ferry or floatplane/chopper over to Victoria even the next day remains viable, unless it's a RT Vancouver route (you'd then be in breach of our equivalent of the PVSA, the Coastwise Trade Act which stops foreign flag ships moving people between different Canadian ports).

 

If it's a one-way to any other country, including the US, you'd still be starting in Canada so Plan B of getting on in Victoria works on paper. The Victoria stop being next also means no US Preclearance in Vancouver, so no problem with everyone else being 'in the USA' but you having to do immigration on arrival on a Coastal or Hawaii cruise for example.

 

But what if it's a regional weather issue here? Anything that grounds planes at YVR will almost certainly mean no ferries either, they stop far more often than flights at YVR are suspended - and floatplanes and choppers also stop flying long before weather impacts jets at YVR.

 

Overall, assuming you have a flight early in the day you have a very low risk of things going pear-shaped enough you miss a 7:30pm cruise; the lines do book people to arrive same-day every single time for ships leaving at 4/5pm and while it's not unheard of for folks to miss their ship it's still very rare - YVR is very rarely hit by extreme weather of any kind. Your Plan B is also very feasible - as would be Plan C, if you can get to Seattle you may be able to then fly to YYJ or take the Clipper to downtown Victoria - in the event that you have an issue that's pretty much anything except extreme weather in this neck of the woods.

 

So overall I'd rank this as similar to booking a flight back home before noon after your cruise - the odds of one big problem or a series of smaller problems that add up to you missing it are very, very low... but since you do have your entire vacation at risk if things go wrong on the way to Vancouver I'd still be inclined not to take the risk personally!

 

Appreciate your very helpful advice.  Too late to change air plans so will have to figure on plan B if we can't board in time.

Cruise is Vancouver-Victoria-SF-Santa B- L.A.   We usually arrive one day ahead but you're right, we saw that Celebrity air was showing our same flight on the day of departure; so we're taking our chances.  I just wanted to know if boarding in Victoria the next day would be lawful.  Again, thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, 44disney said:

 I completely agree as well. We have been delayed overnight a couple of times when going on a cruise so even with your Victoria back up plan I still wouldn’t do it. 

 

 And thanks for the heads up regarding getting to the airport early! I’m planning to go there as soon as I disembark and my flight doesn’t leave until close to 2 PM. 

I almost messed up at YVR by running over to the outlet mall! I have never been so stressed going through customs! I made it through what felt like a gauntlet, but would not do it again! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Glad you made it!  I had originally considered doing something for a short bit of time before heading to the airport but decided that it’s just not worth it.  Missing my return flight would be a lousy way to end what I’m hoping will be a glorious vacation! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, BridgeMates said:

I just wanted to know if boarding in Victoria the next day would be lawful

While it MAY be 'lawful', you also have to consider that there need to be officials there to process your "immigration". The cruise line also would need to know your plan so they can plan for your arrival on the second day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If we have a 1:05 flight from YVR to SeaTac on a Tuesday what time would you suggest we arrive at the airport? I’m also assuming from the above posts that we will clear customs and immigrations before departing YVR. We only have an hour layover in Seattle and I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough time for that process. Thank you in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, mommiemudd said:

If we have a 1:05 flight from YVR to SeaTac on a Tuesday what time would you suggest we arrive at the airport? I’m also assuming from the above posts that we will clear customs and immigrations before departing YVR. We only have an hour layover in Seattle and I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough time for that process. Thank you in advance!

 

I would be there around 11am.

 

The process at Vancouver is explained above. Yes, you will be clearing US Immigration and Customs at YVR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mommiemudd said:

Thank you CruiserBruce. That was my plan. 

I’d say that’s a good plan.  I don’t know your airline, I flew Air Canada from YVR to SEA and it was a small plane that flew out of a gate that was quite a walk, so if that is what you are doing, and you want a snack, get it before you start walking to the gate!  It was too far to go back and all this gate had was a small shop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mommiemudd said:

If we have a 1:05 flight from YVR to SeaTac on a Tuesday what time would you suggest we arrive at the airport?

I also think Bruce's suggestion is spot-on - 2 hours in advance is a solid baseline for US-bound flights. The only reasons to modify that would be if you have Global Entry or NEXUS, when you could bump it to 90mins even if you have checked bags with minimal risk, or if it's a very busy cruise day - an awful lot of folks, especially on a weekday cruise arrival, head straight to the airport due to lack of vacation days for our US cousins so if there are 3 or 4 ships in port things could get very messy at check-in, bag drop and security.

 

If it's this year, check the port schedule here - if it's next year, bookmark that page and check it again in March when the new schedule should be listed. If it's a 3 or 4 ship day (or even a 2 ship day with one of the monster ships like NCL Bliss/Joy, RCCL Oasis), if you don't have GE/NEXUS then I'd be inclined to edge it closer to the official YVR recommendation of 3 hours pre-flight, especially if it's your April Hawaii cruise in your signature as that's very early in the season so there's always a learning curve as airport staff learn to handle cruisers again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes it’s for the April Hawaii Cruise! Several months to go. But working on booking flights, hotels and wanted to have a clear understanding of the process. I’ll definitely check the port schedule. Always part of my cruising ritual. Helps me know how crazy the port/airport might be. We are actually flying home the day after we disembark. We can’t be in Vancouver and not do a little sightseeing before heading home. Looking forward to visiting your city!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/15/2019 at 4:52 AM, BridgeMates said:

Question:  Since our cruise isn't departing Vancouver until  7:30pm, we decided to fly in same day thinking just in case something went wrong we could ferry over to Victoria, the first port and get on there.  Any problem with this plan?

I know, we should have gone in the day ahead, but we've been to Vancouver several times and decided to take a chance.

 

 

You'll be fine.  And, if it really does go off the rails, you could get them to re-route your flights into YYJ/Victoria instead of Vancouver (YYJ/Victoria has direct flights to/from Seattle for instance - not sure of your inbound routing).

 

Vancouver -> Victoria is an incredibly  traveled route, with (summer) 16 ferries /day capable of 1500+ passengers each; or something silly like 20+ flights/day YVR-YYJ between three airlines (Air Canada Express, Westjet Encore and Pacific Coastal).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, hallux said:

While it MAY be 'lawful', you also have to consider that there need to be officials there to process your "immigration". The cruise line also would need to know your plan so they can plan for your arrival on the second day.

 

Why would there need to be officials to process their "immigration", they're already in Canada presumably and would have cleared those formalities at the 1st arrival into Canada (YVR, YYJ or whereever)

 

A trip from Vancouver to Victoria is not an international journey

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, scottbee said:

 

Why would there need to be officials to process their "immigration", they're already in Canada presumably and would have cleared those formalities at the 1st arrival into Canada (YVR, YYJ or whereever)

 

A trip from Vancouver to Victoria is not an international journey

 

I think the issue posters have in mind is that you can clear US Immigration and Customs when you board in Vancouver IF your next port is a US port. However, as Victoria is the second port, passengers boarding in Vancouver will not be clearing US Immigration and Customs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, CruiserBruce said:

I think the issue posters have in mind is that you can clear US Immigration and Customs when you board in Vancouver IF your next port is a US port. However, as Victoria is the second port, passengers boarding in Vancouver will not be clearing US Immigration and Customs. 

 

Exactly why I wanted to re-iterate that Vancouver-Victoria is not an international journey, and no customs and immigration will be applied.

 

The OPs original plans "If I miss it in Vancouver, I'll catch up in Victoria" is a good contingency plan; and will not be encumbered by Customs & Immigration issues, despite another poster erroneously saying it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...